My blog contains a large number of posts. A few are included in various other publications, or as attached stories and chronicles in my emails; many more are found on loose leaves, while some are written carelessly in margins and blank spaces of my notebooks. Of the last sort most are nonsense, now often unintelligible even when legible, or half-remembered fragments. Enjoy responsibly.

Monday, September 01, 2008

God, Please Spare Us From You

I was reading the news this morning (an update on the hurricane that my Mother and Edgar are headed through on their way to Texas) and something struck me as absolutely bizarre. In an article titled (Hurricane) Gustav’s eye closes in on Louisiana Coastline, there is a paragraph where someone is describing their thoughts before the storm hits: "We're nervous, but we just have to keep trusting in God that we don't get the water again," said Lyndon Guidry, who hit the road for Florida just a few months after he was able to return to his home in New Orleans. "We just have to put our faith in God."

Now what struck me as odd was not that she looked to her faith for solace, but how blatantly one sided that relationship is. How could she place her faith in a God that destroyed the city, killing 1,800 men, women, and children a couple of years ago?

I see these same comments all the time and never know how to respond. Cancer patients praying to the same God who gave them the cancer, parents praying to the same God who let their baby be stillborn, and people praying that friends and relatives will recover from whatever it was that God had done to them. What kind of fucked up, abusive relationship is that? It’s really along the lines of trying to justify staying with someone who physically abuses you. “He only hits me because he loves me” and “It’ll be different this time” are no worse than “It is all part of his plan” and “Praying to God will help”. To paraphrase Epicurus, if God is willing to stop evil, but can’t, then he is not all powerful. If he able, but not willing, then he is cruel. If he both able and willing, then the evil came from him. If he neither able nor willing, then he isn’t a God.

There are only two reasons that I can think that blind-faith believers justify the callous actions of a God like that. One is to say that “he does everything for a reason”, like that is supposed to excuse sending natural disasters that slowly drown babies in floods of water. Also, if that were true, the lesson that you need to learn is that he is cruel. The other excuse that comes to mind is when people insist that God does these horrible things to remind us that he is all-powerful. Which I truly can’t fathom because if really is a God, he wouldn’t be as shallow as to be offended by those who doubt that he existed.

But getting back to Lyndon Guidry, essentially she is asking a deity, with the presumed power to create and destroy the universe, and who has sent another storm to ravage Louisiana, for leniency. I’m sure that if it does no harm they will thank him for sparing them. But if it kills another 1,800 people, Lyndon will only see that as God’s will. All of this left me with the question, why don’t people blame God for the evils in the world? Why not a quote from Lyndon saying, “We were just fine until God decided that Louisiana needed to be flooded again” or one from a cancer patient who declares, “God gave me cancer because he thinks I deserve it”, or maybe even “we were winning the game until God made me miss that 3-pointer”. Maybe then, those bizarre statements asking God for help would make a bit more sense.

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